How is there a Torii Hunter, Jr. in Spring Training Already?

b9328486009z.1_20170715194105_000_g73j0rk2j.1-0

I was perusing my MLB At Bat™ mobile application this weekend just getting ready for the upcoming baseball season and catching up on Spring Training storylines when I was slapped directly in the face by what has to be a false flag headline. I’m paraphrasing here, but it said something along the lines of “Torii Hunter, Jr. Powers Angels.” I immediately knew this to be incorrect, since there is no possible way that Torri Hunter, former All-Star centerfielder who retired in 2015 already has progeny in the professional baseball ranks. But, sadly, I then remembered that I already knew about THJ because he played football at Notre Dame. Following a minor breakdown where I was questioning my own transience, I began to accept this preposterous fact that Torii Hunter, who had his first MLB at-bat in 1998, had a son that was fighting for a major league spot (he’s only three and a half years younger than me, though, so maybe I’ve still got some time to make the show).

Anyway, all of this got me thinking about athlete’s sons (and daughters, too. It’s 2019, after all) and what leads to them being good or not. This isn’t an original thought, but the quality of the offspring is almost always inversely related to the parent’s ability, and Torii Hunter might have been a little too good to produce a quality major league baseball player. MJ’s kids? Stunk at basketball. LeBron’s kids have yet to make the NBA. Roger Clemens’s kids are all coaches now. They can’t be too bad, though. The sweet spot is role player to quality player. Dell Curry’s kid is good. Bobby Bonds and Ken Griffey, Sr. both had sons make the major leagues. Pat Mahomes, Sr. has a professional athlete son. The lone exception seems Vlad Guerrero, Jr., but they always say the exception proves the rule, which is a concept that makes no sense whatsoever because if a rule is something that is always true, how could the existence of something that proves the rule isn’t always true actually prove that the rule is always true? But yeah, thinking about which athletes would make the best kid. Here are my top nominees:

cvf6vnjznw1wjw26pjme

Robert Swift– I’ve said it before, but the time Robert Swift showed up one day with two full tattoo sleeves was one of the most shocking moments in NBA history. He sucked but had prototypical NBA size. If he can pass down that size and his son learns the 2019 big man skill set, we could be looking at the ginger Porzingis. The biggest hurdle may be finding a willing partner.

23561900-standardjpg-dfbc37950e425093

Matt Stafford– If you can’t imagine Matt Stafford, Jr. having a 6,000 yard season at Oklahoma State in 2042 then we just aren’t watching the same sport.

furyk-640x360

Jim Furyk– Couldn’t tell you why, but I imagine Furyk’s son as a real mean outside linebacker.

Milwaukee Bucks v Washington Wizards

Malcolm Brogdon– I’m gonna go a different direction, here. Malcolm Brogdon’s daughter is going to be a five- or six-time WNBA All-Star (yeah, I saw Captain Marvel on International Women’s Day, nbd).

593f196ceedd1.image_

Juan Pierre– Juan Pierre’s kids are going to be absolutely nasty at baseball. Just disgustingly filthy. A 50-50 season might be on the table.

tom_brady_patriots

Tom Brady– Come on, you think Tom’s seed isn’t magic?

Advertisements

Red Sox Win the World Series

Folks, it’s the seventh inning and I’m already typing this up. That’s how much the Red Sox have dominated the Dodgers. That’s how much they’ve dominated the entire league all season. The Boston Red Sox are World Champions once again.

The 18-inning loss would have broken most teams. Going down 4-0 the night after losing an 18-inning game would have broken every team. Every team except this Red Sox team. The ate the adversity and spit right back in the Dodgers’ face. Blowout in game 4. Blowout in game 5. One of the most anticlimactic championships I’ve ever experienced. And friends, I’ve experienced a lot of them. Five from the Patriots, four from the Red Sox, one each from the Celtics and Bruins, and two from UConn basketball while I was attending the school. Four if you just factor it all in. Imagine rooting for another group of teams? I can’t.

What a season. What a postseason. So many new Boston legends born in the blink of an eye. Steve Pearce the G.O.A.T. David Price bashed the haters’ brains in. I would die for Joe Kelly, Ryan Brasier, and Nate Eovaldi. Brock Holt might be the most reliable player on the team. If you told me how many future MVP Raffy Devers would win I wouldn’t believe anything under six. Mitch Moreland singlehandedly saved the season. No one will remember how much Mookie and J.D. sucked at the end since they both went deep and now we can just think of them as two of the top three MVP vote getters. Every time I think of Chris Sale’s speech I’m ready to run through the thickest brick wall ever constructed. If 2004 and 2013 never happened, this would be my favorite baseball team ever.

The only question that should be on anyone’s lips is this- Are the 2018 Boston Red Sox the best team of all time? 108 wins. 11-3 in the postseason against two 100-win teams and the loaded Dodgers. Second-most total wins by a title winner ever. Best offense, best defense, and apparently best pitching in the league. I’d put them against anyone in history. Maybe I’m just caught up in the hype. Although, after all these rings, the winning doesn’t feel quite as special as it used to and the losing feels worse. Good thing I don’t do much losing.

I Won’t Let People Forget About Nathan Eovaldi

I’m going to keep this brief since I’m courageously battling a cold/flu hybrid and staying up until 3:30 surprisingly didn’t help, but last night Nathan Eovaldi submitted a classic Forgotten Playoff Moments game, and I refuse to let him fade into obscurity.

Now, assuming the Red Sox still win the World Series, the likelihood of of him going the way of Chase Utley in 09 are reduced. But the fact that he was the losing pitcher in the longest playoff game ever doesn’t help things. Eovaldi dominated this game. As much as Walker Buehler (remember him?) owned the Sox, Eovaldi owned the Dodgers. 6 innings, one earned run, five strikeouts out of the bullpen when he’d pitched both games before? That should be legendary. Instead, he’ll just be a trivia answer.

Eovaldi put his nuts on the table and dared anyone to do something about it. Eventually, attrition won out. But those twelve hours in between when he entered and when the game ended? It should go down in playoff lore. It was one of the best pitching performances these eyes have ever seen. It reduced Rick Porcello to tears, for crying out loud! This game could have ended a million times before it actually did, but Eovaldi did all any person could have done to keep it going. When he was on the Yankees, I hated Eovaldi passionately. My least favorite player since Joba Chamberlain. I thought he sucked and was grossly overhyped. Now? I would die for him. That’s what playoff baseball does.

An Open Letter to Yankee Fans

yankees-ejection-2

Last night, the Boston Red Sox finally put the Yankees out of their misery. Eliminated them in four games (in Yankee Stadium, no less) to advance to the ALCS. This, of course, means that the Yankees will no, in fact, win the World Series this year. And that makes me sad for Yankee fans everywhere. I know I’ve been hard on this unlikable group of chain wearing, jersey unbuttoning, roided up, greasy, fake-Italian mouth-breathers who can only count to 27 and have an average IQ lower than Mariano Rivera’s postseason ERA, but I’d like to take a moment and give them a message of hope and inspiration:

Good luck in 2019.

MLB Playoffs Start Tonight

Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox

Alright, I know my baseball coverage has been lacking this year, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been paying attention. Some mixture of business and lethargy kind of hamstrung a lot of stuff I was planning to do during the summer, and baseball kind of got lost in the shuffle once football started. Nothing brings me back to the Pastime, though, than the postseason. The air gets a little crisper, the leaves turn, and buttholes clench tighter and tighter with every pitch, each one having the possibility to decide an entire season. I’ve discussed the baseball playoffs before, but there’s nothing quite like true unpleasantness of playoff baseball to remind everyone why baseball is great. It makes sense, trust me.

This year, there is a clear imbalance the leagues. The American League had three teams win 100 games and another that won its division by a thousand games. The National League had a bunch of good, not great teams. Christian Yelich, who will likely be named NL MVP, wouldn’t finish in the top five of American League voting. Even the A’s, surely the consensus pick for the weakest AL playoff team, would be favored against whomever wins the NL. I mean, no offense to the Braves, but they’re hosting a playoff series while the Yankees are in the Wild Card Game. That tells you all you need to know.

The biggest question, in my biased opinion, facing the league is who can beat the Red Sox? They put together one of the best seasons in franchise history and looked to be the best team in baseball for much of the year. The only problem is the bullpen is hot garbage outside Craig Kimbrel, and they had a troubling inability to beat the Indians, Astros, and Athletics. In case you forgot, those are three of the four playoff teams in the American League. Uh-oh. The Sox did comparatively well against the Yankees, but you’re asking for trouble if you want to face Judge and Stanton in a playoff series. The American League is an unforgiving gauntlet that will force teams to dig deeper than they’ve ever dug before and exhaust every possible option. Whoever wins the pennant will truly earn it. That’s kind of why I’m worried about the Sox. I love this team. It’s easily been my favorite iteration since at least 2013. But there’s just way more questions than there should be about a 108 win team. What happens if Chris Sale isn’t healthy and/or still isn’t great in the playoffs? What happens if the Yankees win the Wild Card and David Price has to pitch against them? Who pitches game 3? Who pitches in literally any inning besides the ninth if things get hairy? I know the offense will show up, and I know the defense will show up. But the pitching, AKA the most important thing in October, is very shaky. That, as they say, is bad. I’ve had a sinking feeling that all these wins would lead to an early exit with the wrong matchup. I’m confident the Sox will win their ALDS. But the Astros and Indians form a collective bugaboo that I’m not sure they can overcome. I’m just glad Alex Cora’s at the helm this time around.

The National League, despite (or, more likely, because of) the lack of juggernauts, is even murkier. The Braves are the only team I would be surprised to see in the Fall Classic, and even then they have enough elite talent to carry them through three weeks. The Cubs and Dodgers should probably be viewed as the two favorites, both because of the talent level and playoff pedigree, but the Cubs might not even survive tonight. The Brewers would be the logical successor to the Cubs position as NL Alpha, but their pitching is in even worse position than the Red Sox, and that’s saying something. The Braves are probably just happy to be there and have their eyes on the coming years. The Rockies, the proverbial Team Playing Well at the Right Time, are red hot and posses the rarest of commodities: pitchers that perform well in Coors Field. But they scored nearly 100 fewer runs on the road than they did at home, and they’re going on the road to play the Wild Card game. The Dodgers, meanwhile, are doing their darnedest to take baseball into the Super Team era, but all of their flashy acquisitions kind of didn’t do that great, and most of their superstars took a step back this season. Do you trust Max Muncy to carry the team? I don’t. Every single NL team has strengths and crippling weaknesses. Who do I think will win? Probably the Dodgers. It just feels like they have the deepest lineup and the deepest pitching. I’d love for the Rockies or Brewers to pull it out, but I just can’t see it.

So, yeah, playoff baseball is finally here. I’ve got a feeling this year’s gonna be something special, folks. Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy grind out every second of the games.

BREAKING: Todd Frazier, Major League Baseball Player, Once Played Little League Baseball

cut

Absolutely astonishing news has just crossed the Brian’s Den News Desk. The kind of news that shakes the very fabric of society. I can assure you, you’ll forever remember when and where you first heard this. I’m sorry in advance for shattering your entire world view, but I’ve just learned that Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series.

As startling as it may seem, it is indeed true. Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series. I can barely believe it, myself. Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series. To think that someone who performs at the highest level of his profession started playing early in life is crazy enough, but that a future Major League Baseball player would be considerably better than his young peers? Excuse me? What a story. Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series.

For those who don’t know (count me among them, because everything about this story is blowing my mind), the Little League World Series is played in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Last night MLB had their Little League Classic, which is also played in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The Mets played in this game. Todd Frazier is on the Mets. Unbeknownst to me, this was not the first time Todd Frazier had played a baseball game in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series, which is a fact I’m still trying to wrap my head around.

Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series for Toms River, New Jersey, which, in the cosmic sense of things, is close to New York City, the city in which he currently plays. The story keeps getting stranger, but stick with me for a moment. Last season, he played for the Yankees, who also play in New York City. After playing in the Little League World Series for Toms River, New Jersey, Todd Frazer got to meet the Yankees, particularly Derek Jeter. There’s photo evidence to prove it to the all the doubting Thomases out there who share my struggles in believing such an outlandish story:

mlbf_21545905_th_45

I just can’t believe something like this escaped my knowledge for so long. I mean, I’m a pretty plugged-in guy. Nary a minor sports storyline goes unnoticed in the Brian’s Den, and yet, here we are. It’s August 20th, 2018, and I just learned that Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series. I guess it’s true what they say: you’re never too old to learn that Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series.

(It should go without saying, but I’m very triggered right now and that I hope Todd Frazier dies an excruciating death because this is my least favorite sports story of all time. WE KNOW TODD FRAZIER PLAYED IN THE LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES!!!! WE’VE KNOWN FOR 20 YEARS, NOW!!!!! STOP ACTING LIKE THIS IS BREAKING NEWS!!!!!! EVERY TIME TODD FRAZIER’S STUPID FACE IS PUT ON TELEVISION THEY HAVE TO EXPLAIN TO US HOW HE PLAYED IN THE LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES. WE KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TOMS RIVER, NEW JERSEY IS A COMPLETE DUMP AND NOTHING GOOD HAS EVER COME OUT OF THERE, INCLUDING TODD FRAZIER’S UGLY-ASS SWING. TODD FRAZIER IS SINGLEHANDEDLY TRYING TO RUIN THE GAME OF BASEBALL FOR EVERYONE. But it’s okay, though, because he played in the Little League World Series.)

Me when someone asks if I knew Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series:

It is with a Heavy Heart that I Announce the New York Yankees have Passes Away

ad682d1c-65ef-4988-be76-ec092b8778a7_1-ed8c5fcd373b81ecb5f58c2aecc03c03

BOSTON- At approximately 12:50 this morning, the New York Yankees, baseball’s most historic team (owner of 27 ringzzz, if you hadn’t had the pleasure of interacting with a member of the Yankees’ faithful before), were murdered in cold blood by the Boston Red Sox in front of over 37,000 witnesses. The trial is expected to be swift and efficient, as there is little doubt over the perpetrator or method. The Red Sox used a blunt object (believed to be a baseball bat) to cave the fragile skulls of the Bronx Bombers and left them to bleed out on the field. A gruesome sight, to be sure. Many fans are despondent over the loss of their team and have begged God for another chance, but the Almighty has responded, saying “those overdramatic idiots already used up their prayers on a three-week Aaron Judge DL stint, they’re not getting shit.” The Yankees leave behind superstar Aaron Judge and Joba Chamberlain 2.0 Gary Sanchez, who were spared the massacre by virtue of being on the disabled list, an odd bit of mercy displayed by the assailant. Not all is lost, however. Though the Yankees on the whole demonstrated an alarming amount of cowardice over the course of the murder, one player, Shane Robinson, had a fine final hour. According to Brian, of tiny independent website http://www.briansden69.com, Shane Robinson is now his most hated Major League Baseball player and that he “hopes that ugly-ass bald gnome has a good time trying his little heart out while rotting in hell,” and that “I thought the Little League World Series didn’t start until the end of the month.”

For their part, the culprits can now be considered serial killers, as they have murdered numerous baseball teams before turning their sights to their oldest rivals. They appear to be an unstoppable beast with an insatiable lust for blood. With the best lineup in the league and one of the best pitching staffs, they will continue to pile up victims if left unchecked. Chris Sale, Mookie Betts, and J.D. Martinez have amassed horrifying body counts and deserve to spend the rest of their lives in prison.

When reached out to for comment, Yankee manager Aaron Boone was surprised to hear of his team’s death, and “didn’t think anything was going wrong.”